Gendering Urban Exile: The Daily Lives of Syrian Women in Amman, Jordan

University essay from Lunds universitet/Centrum för Mellanösternstudier

Abstract: The current Syrian crisis has pushed over 4.8 million people to seek asylum abroad, mainly in the neighbouring countries. In Jordan urban refugees, who represent 82% of registered refugees, lack visibility and help. Women are in a particularly difficult situation due to their multiple burdens as caregivers and homemakers. Yet, Syrian forced migrant women settled in the capital city of Amman demonstrate great capacities of resilience in their everyday life, in a supposedly constraining situation of forced exile. They survive between the anonymous spaces of the metropolis, and the popular neighbourhoods they inhabit on the margins of the city. Embedded in multiple networks of solidarity and social worlds stretching over national boundaries, they manage everyday life between continuity and change, negotiate gender hierarchies and question the refugee label as a legal category and as an experience of displacement. This study is based on an ethnographic fieldwork conducted between September and December 2015 in Jordan. Using the concepts of social worlds and of gendered geographies of power in transnational spaces, I look at the ways forced migrant women maintain a sense of life and inscribe themselves in the urban spaces of exile through the renegotiation of social networks, resilient gendered hierarchies and refugee bargains.

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